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A money factory. Who turns on the printing machine? 10 июня 2015 года, 11:25

A money factory. Who turns on the printing machine?

A new banknote dedicated to the reunion with Crimea will appear in Russia soon. Arkady Trachuk, General Director of Goznak, a professor of the Financial University at the Government of the Russian Federation, told the AIF about it.

What is awaiting the kopeck?

- Arkady Vladimirovich, not long ago German Gref, Head of Sberbank, called for decreasing the volume of cash in circulation. Is the real paper money doomed?
- In the majority of countries of the Western Europe, the number of cash and non-cash payments in the retail trade is approximately equal now. In Russia, the share of non-cash payments carried out by citizens in the retail trade in 2014 is 15%. The figure grew three times during the last five years. In my opinion, the state regulating measures are not needed here. It is important to improve the service quality and decrease the compensation for payments. People will choose the convenient payment ways themselves.
- Are you not afraid that Goznak will receive no orders?  
- Orders from the Bank of Russia comprise one third of all the orders of the enterprise. There’s no talk about increasing the number of cash in circulation therefore we are concentrating at other kinds of products now already. We’re speaking about various kinds of identity documents. Besides, during the last few years we’ve been working in the market of services of electronic data storing and processing.  
-Imported materials are applied in the Russian banknote production. Has the banknote production become more expensive?
- We’ve used imported materials for about forty years already. Their share in the banknote net cost is from 18 to 40% depending on the face value. Has the net cost grown due to the decrease of the rouble rate? It has. Has the price for the Central Bank changed? It hasn’t. Goznak will receive less profit this year, that’s all. A number of components for the banknote production are not manufactured in Russia. It is possible to use the Russian materials only. But we will have to change the technology, and there will possibly be some changes in the banknote appearance.  
- By the way, what about changes? Are new banknotes planned to be issued, for example a 10,000-rouble one?
- The Bank of Russia decides about issuing new banknotes. I can only say that a banknote dedicated to the reunion of Crimea with Russia will soon appear in circulation. We have had a similar experience once before – a commemorative banknote dedicated to the Olympic Games in Sochi. We issued 20 million pieces, but they all spread among collectors.  
- There have been talks about withdrawing the exchange coins for a long time. What is your position?  
- The Bank of Russia has not ordered the manufacture of 1 and 5-kopeck coins for a long time. They are not taken out of circulation, but they don’t participate in it really. We sometimes mint 10 and 50 kopecks, but they settle in pockets. One should wait until they withdraw from circulation themselves. Though I won’t conceal the fact that it is expensive to produce subsidiary coins compared to their face values.
- Can plastic banknotes appear in Russia?
- All intellectual rights for the plastic film on which they’re printed belonged to an Australian company for a long time. The question of the plastic banknote application feasibility has never been discussed in our country.  Not long ago the term of those rights has expired. We’ll see. So far, there is no distinctive proof that it is more advantageous to issue plastic banknotes. Besides, there are other problems. It is more difficult to utilize plastic than paper.  

Valuable waste

- Have there been robberies or thefts at Goznak?  
- There have not been robberies. There have been attempts of thefts. Not so long ago an employee of one of the Mints tried to take away a rejected coin. It is rejected from the production, but it is very valuable for numismatists.
- Do you mean that nobody tries to fill a bag with banknotes and run away?  
- It is impossible. A lot of people are involved in the process, every production stage is controlled.
The printing team receives counted sheets to be printed and gives them back counted too. If a sheet has stuck in the machine and teared they must take it out glue it and give it back as a rejected one. On the whole, the majority of the employees of Goznak do not treat the produced banknotes as money. Psychologically it is just a product to them.  
- We often hear the expression “to turn on the printing machine”. Who turns it on?
- (Smiling.) A printing team switch it on, but it is not related to macro economy. If we speak about the process, the money is constantly printed.
- But if we speak about macro economy? You are the general director of the production site where the national currency is printed. Perhaps you know what kind of rouble we need – strong or weak?
- We need well-protected and fairly valued rouble. When it is too strong, it decreases the competitiveness of our economy in the world markets, when it’s weak it hits the people’s pockets. We need a balance. It is close already, but we will continue to look for it for some time.  

Victoria GUDKOVA
Source: Argumenty I Fakty” (AIF) No. 24 (1805) June 10-16, 2015
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